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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This question has come up for me a couple times on here, and I've never really gotten a solid answer. Given the priorities of survival...

1. Mindset
2. Tactics
3. Skill
4. Gear

...I would conclude that choice of weapon is the least important thing. However, its accepted that a long arm, say a 12 gauge shotgun is a more effective manstopper than a handgun.

So what happens if one has all of their training, tactical knowledge, practice and experience with a handgun? Obviously that will be what they carry, but if someone kicks in the door in the middle of the night, what should they go for? The 12 gauge they have very little skill with, or the handgun they fire regularly, and have professional instruction on the effective defensive use of?

In a perfect world the answer is to seek the same competence with the long arm, but assuming that isn't an option, what do you recommend?
 

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A firearm your proficient with will always be better than one your unfamiliar with.
 

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Any mindset is going to do very little w/o a working firearm.
Skill is built by repetition and working in different tactics.
Confidence in good tactics and skill redefine your mindset.
Gear must be reliable so also has an influence in the mindset.

Thefore:
1- Have a 100% reliable system that you adore
2- Train hard and perfect your tactics
3-The mindset will come along

Train as you fight. Like the old wise samurai said: we fight at the dojo and we play at the battle field.
 

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Its still a tough call and I hate to say it all depends on the layout and all the other variables. Assuming both are reliable firearms.
Here are my Pros and cons of each based on your scenario and I will probably leave some out.

Pistol
Pros:
confidence using it / proficiency
easy to move (wont bump into things)
will stop the thrat (not as well as shotgun though)
Makes less holes (assuming some sort of shot is used in shotgun)
May hold more rounds then shotgun.

Cons:
may not stop threat immediately
may have over penetration (depending on round used)

Shotgun:
Pros:
will most likely stop threat quicker then pistol
if pump the sound of racking round will be deterrent to any escalation
more forgiveness accuracy wise depending on shell fired.
less worry with over penetration

Cons:
less possible capactity then pistol
less confidence in ability
may bump into obstacles easier then pistol

Also what is closer to you and how much time do you have before needing to employ weapon?
But based soley on your question and details provided it would be a handgun unless you only had time to grab the shotgun.

edit: knew I would forget stuff, Also even if you know both are reliable which could you get back into the fight quicker should it go down? since you say the person has training in handguns then it would be more reason to stick with a handgun. But like you say in a perfect world they would be equally proficient in both in which case I would say shotgun with the handgun for backup.
 

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I don't buy the shotgun home defense weapon BS--and neither should anyone else. The shotgun got that title of "home defense weapon" because:

1. Pump shotguns are cheaper than pistols
2. You don't need a permit to own a shotgun
3. Birdshot/Buckshot covers a large area, so a person who is inexperienced can still can something on the target from the pattern of the shot.

I'll take my G19 or M&P9 any day over my Mossberg 930SPX. Here is why the pistol owns:

1. 10rd mags of Speer Gold Dot (prebans in the G19), plus another mag is easy to carry.
2. Can manuever much better with the pistol than the shotgun
3. Pistol rounds are just as effective as the buckshot/birdshot--if you don't think so, can I shoot you with both rounds and you let me know how it feels?
4. Reload time is very fast (if you needed to reload)

Also, there is some sort of myth about overpenetration. Bring a shotgun in your home and shoot buckshot or birdshot--they are going through drywall, kitchen cabinets, wood, etc. They still fire over 1000fps, that's not slow moving ammo.

If you don't have a pistol permit, then YES, the shotgun is pretty much your only choice.
If you own a pistol & shoot IDPA/IPSC/USPSA on a regular basis, then the pistol should be the weapon you grab.

My pistol will be the weapon I am grabbing if someone ever broke in & decided to stay around.
 

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I thought these were interesting.



He has other videos but I think those 2 are the best matchup
 

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Pistol is most accessible so that would be first no matter what. Once you have the pistol, you can work your way to the shotgun/AR if need be, but chances are, your pistol is all you need. Don't have a permit? then 18.5" Shotgun is your friend.
 
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I suspect the OP already knew the answer to his question but opinions were asked for so…..

I'm an IDPA Master shooter with the Glock pistol.

I earned the Handgun Combat Master title from Chuck Taylor's American Small Arms Academy using a M1911A1.

I keep a Remington M870 next to the bed loaded with 'OO' buckshot for things that go bump in the night.

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Also what is closer to you and how much time do you have before needing to employ weapon?
In my particular case, they are just about even. I would need to open a safe to access the pistol, and I'd need to chamber a round in the shotgun, which is not in a safe. Either way a couple seconds to fully operational.

Also even if you know both are reliable which could you get back into the fight quicker should it go down?
Well, I train in clearing malfunctions with handguns. I have never experienced, induced or otherwise, a malfunction with a shotgun, and I don't know how one would clear it other than repeatedly working the action.

But like you say in a perfect world they would be equally proficient in both in which case I would say shotgun with the handgun for backup.
I do intend on getting training with shotguns (and hopefully rifles) eventually, but it will probably be a ways off. Time and money are limited resources, and I'm set up to produce handgun ammunition inexpensively. I can't say the same for shotgun ammunition.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I suspect the OP already knew the answer to his question but opinions were asked for so…..

I'm an IDPA Master shooter with the Glock pistol.

I earned the Handgun Combat Master title from Chuck Taylor's American Small Arms Academy using handguns?

I keep a Remington M870 next to the bed loaded with 'OO' buckshot for things that go bump in the night.

I didn't know the answer, and I appreciate your post. You seem to be the first one in the thread thus far to argue against using the weapon one is more proficient with (assuming you aren't equally qualified with the shotgun).

Can I ask you to describe why you made the decision you did, given your obvious expertise with handguns?
 
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I'm reasonably skilled with a shotgun as well as a pistol.
I prefer the buckshot loaded shotgun over a handgun because a handgun is a poor ballistic performer.
The sole redeeming attribute of a handgun is that we can hide them on and about our persons.
A shotgun delivers more destruction, hate and discontent than any pistol.
 

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I'm reasonably skilled with a shotgun as well as a pistol.
I prefer the buckshot loaded shotgun over a handgun because a handgun is a poor ballistic performer.
The sole redeeming attribute of a handgun is that we can hide them on and about our persons.
A shotgun delivers more destruction, hate and discontent than any pistol.
Kmussack, your also leagues above a lot of people on this forum--don't forget about your sniping skills! Your like a damn Delta Force, so your answers aren't fair for the average person, lol.

On a serious note, if I had that type of training with the shotgun, I would probably have the same answer. I am FAR from a Master at IPSC, but I definitely feel more confident with the pistol only because I pretty much shoot it almost every week.
 
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Kmussack, your also leagues above a lot of people on this forum--don't forget about your sniping skills! Your like a damn Delta Force, so your answers aren't fair for the average person, lol......
Delta Force?
Me?
Oh hell no, I'm just a hobbyist.
 

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Luckily I have two advanced warning devises named "Hunter & Shadow" :ears:. I have way more time (talking seconds here, 10 to 15 sec makes big difference) to decide which weapon I feel like shooting. Plus if Shadow joins in to the bark/growling fest then it's definitely the 590A1.:shot:
 

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So what happens if one has all of their training, tactical knowledge, practice and experience with a handgun? Obviously that will be what they carry, but if someone kicks in the door in the middle of the night, what should they go for? The 12 gauge they have very little skill with, or the handgun they fire regularly, and have professional instruction on the effective defensive use of?
Something to consider is the "carry over" of performance trigger manipulation that is seen from training pistol a lot vs. long gun and THEN having to use a long gun. A handgun is lighter with an average trigger pull of 5lbs and you can only achieve two points of contact (sometimes only 1) i.e. two hands on the handgun. Training with the handgun and becoming good with the handgun allows many, based on my experience and the experience of others I work with, to easily shoot a long gun once fundamental manual of arms is understood (loading, chambering, status etc). However, as Kmussack points out, handgun rounds are anemic man stoppers and the increased stopping power of a long gun under extreme stress home defense is a desirable trait which is why long guns are often advocated for home defense or facility defense. I think a more directed question might be: If you had no idea how many were coming and what armament they are bringing what would be your choice of defensive firearm? This is real life.

Based on this article we have 1-2 minutes once a break in/home invasion/burglary occurs to respond before they are in your master bedroom:
Guest Post: A Burglar

1-2 min for you to: recognize and acknowledge what is happening, fully wake up, get corrective lenses on if you wear them, wake up and collect family, access and ready a defensive firearm or tool and call 911. I am sure there are a couple other steps in there I forgot or perhaps your plan is different. Either way, under these worst case scenario circumstances I WANT to have the most devistating firearm ready to as possible.

Just my take.
 

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With a handgun you need to aim and get very good at that.
With a shotgun you point, pull the trigger and forget. ...and more times than not the job is done.
We do not see more shotguns in defensive tactics get-togethers because there is not CCW permits for them.

The only real power comes out of a long rifle. - Joseph Stalin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Chris, I interpret that article to say they will spend 1-2 minutes searching your master bedroom, not that they will take 1-2 minutes to get there. So you really have a matter of seconds if they are heading directly there like the article says.

In this case, the time it takes to grab the shotgun vs. opening the safe might be significant. I appreciate the replies. I'm still unsure how much 'carry over' skill there is from handguns to long arms, especially a pump action shotgun.

With an AR-15 or other semi-automatic rifle I think that argument holds more weight, but with a pump-action shotgun, I worry about things like a slow rate of fire, assuming multiple targets, and short-stroking the action and causing a misfeed.

Since originally posting this question, my girlfriend, who I'd like to have a weapon available to when I'm not home, but does not have a pistol permit, got to fire an AR-15. She refuses to try the 12 gauge as she is very sensitive to recoil. But she liked the AR, and says she would shoot it with me regularly if I got one. So I think the benefits of that particular platform outweigh some of the other concerns. I will probably get an AR and consider that the primary HD choice.
 
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